Luca Grasso is a father of 2 girls. He lives in The Netherlands where he works as a business coach. In 2017 he founded UP! - a coaching consultancy that supports individuals and organisations in identifying and reaching truly transformative goals. Luca recently sat down with Every Mother Knows to tell us about his special journey into fatherhood.
You have 2 daughters of 10 and 12. Tell me what you learned from this journey during the last 12 years?
You mention rightly - journey! Being a father has been an exploration of life. My experiences with my kids have been rewarding and challenging.
I was exposed to many emotions, even ones that I didn’t know existed. Rollercoasters are for dummies, children are for professionals.
Lessons learned? Be authentic, stay open for self-confrontation and prepare for the unknown. When you don’t know, experiment. People call them mistakes, I call them learnings (laughs)
What are the joys and challenges of fatherhood for you?
A typical morning with my girls goes from good morning cuddles to uncontrollable frustrations at being late for school. All in a time span of 35 minutes! This morning was no exception.
So let me start with the challenges first and we keep the joys for dessert :-).
I am in for challenge, can’t hide from it. It is a struggle to manage kids, work, friends, parents, romance, time for yourself. Doing it all is a luxury for few. And actually I don’t know any such person - if you do, please let me know!
So how do I keep everyone happy including myself? Very difficult but not impossible. With a bit of resilience, soon you will appreciate the joys of fatherhood. Pause for a minute and observe how your kids grow, develop and transform. It’s amazing when you realise you were a co-creator in this.
How do you juggle work and family life?
Option 1: Get a nanny
Option 2: Work hard.
Let me explain. I believe that what surrounds me comes from me and only me. I took the decision to have kids just as I took the decision to be successful in my profession.
This translates in one principle: be responsible for your choices. With practice I became a better planner and juggler. I am a big fan of preparation. I plan ahead, prioritise. That allows me to carve quality time for myself. It works for about 80% of the cases. For the rest, there is wine :-)
How has fatherhood influenced your career so far?
It’s 11:30 am, you are at work, you just put on your manager hat, there are 50 unread emails, 5 meetings to attend and the weight of the world to carry. And then you get a call from school because your daughter is not well. Life happens when you make other plans, they say. In the following 90 seconds you breathe heavily, pack your stuff, say farewell to your colleagues, glance at your monitor hoping for empathy and then off you go. The father hat is back on.
It’s tough. Being a parent means reviewing your priorities very quickly. Accepting your boundaries and limits is very important. Luckily my job offers a good degree of flexibility. Despite the challenges and time pressure, I achieve a lot professionally. Furthermore, being a father has shaped me as a professional as well. I am a coach now - it is partly through my personal experience in fatherhood.
What's the advice you like to give to new fathers?
First of all, celebrate! Not everyone gets this chance. Second: prepare. There is something so natural about being father and at the same time, is there anything more unnatural than staying awake at night? Because guys, you think you know, but you don’t :-)
I have often noticed how much we prepare when finding a partner and buying a house. And then it stops. But we need to foster and grow the happiness inside and around ourselves.
The answer (my answer at least) is “prepare”. Prepare for (self)confrontation, chronic exhaustion, hyper-sensitiveness and more. Just prepare to screw up. Children shake ideas, options, perceptions, beliefs. Having a child changes the way you experience life. In fact, your child will change your life. And it’s the most precious of all gifts.
What is the one desire you have for your life now? And for your career?
Beautiful question - my only desire is to stay happy. I consider my needs to lead a meaningful life. I am very much connected to my core values, the sign posts that remind me what matters and what doesn’t. Career-wise this manifested into the birth of my coaching consultancy UP!. You can call it my third child. And I treat it as such. I feed it and raise it with the same care and love. Supporting people in becoming the best version of themselves is part of my life purpose.
So for my career I wish UP! a successful and prosper future!
A little message to your daughters from daddy…
I want them to know that daddy has only be daddy twice and has made many attempts to choose the best for them. Among all the good deeds, some will need to be shaken off.
They’ll learn how to forgive me, as I have done with my parents. When they grow up and break free from their "father as an authority" and discard what does not fit with their lifestyles, they will experience the liberating power of rebellion. They will be free to choose their paths, confident to fall and resilient to rise again.
Connect and learn more
Get in touch with Luca on https://www.facebook.com/theupway.coach/